China says Japanese anti-flu agent Favipiravir effective on coronavirus patients

Medical staff in protective suits treat a patient with pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, in Wuhan on Jan 28, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


BEIJING, Mar 19, 2020, Hindustan Times. Chinese medical experts claim that a Japanese anti-flu agent ‘clearly effective’ in treating coronavirus. An active ingredient called Favipiravir, that goes into Japanese anti-flu medicine called Avigan, was tested on over 300 Covid-19 patients in China. Patients who were given the drug reported quicker recovery with greater signs of lung improvement as compared to those who did not receive the drug agent, Hindustan Times reported.

Experts say Favipiravir helps in blocking the virus from replicating in the body.

On Tuesday, Zhang Xinmin from China’s Science and Technology Ministry said that Favipiravir has been effective in Covid-19 patients’ recovery with no obvious side-effects, news agency IANS reported.

An oral medicine using Favipiravir, developed by Hong Kong-based Sihuan Pharmaceutical, is also in line to try on Covid-19 patients.

A trial involving 80 cases conducted by a hospital in Shenzhen and a study of 120 cases led by Wuhan University’s Zhongnan Hospital both showed the drug shortened the recovery time for patients.

Favipiravir-containing Avigan has been developed by Fujifilm and has licensed the patent for favipiravir to Chinese company Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical.

Clinical tests using Avigan as a treatment for the virus have also started in Japan, news agency AFP reported.

The number of Covid-19 patients in India has crossed 160. Three people in India have died from the infection, 15 have recovered. The virus has infected nearly 200,000 people across the globe and killed more than 8,000 people.

(With inputs from agencies)

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